Damp or mould problems in a home are associated with increased health problems including allergic rhinitis, asthma, and other respiratory infections. Some groups, including young children and older people are especially vulnerable from suffering with adverse symptoms if they live in a property with a significant amount of mould.
Most moulds spread by shedding microscopic particles known as spores which can inflame airways and cause wheezing and nasal congestion when inhaled. Prolonged exposure to mould spores – particularly those from the toxic black mould species Stachybotrys Chartarum can cause severe reactions in some people.
Mould is a type of fungus that thrives in damp conditions where it absorbs nutrients from dead materials. Some mould is found in every building due to the way its tiny spores spread in the air, although it only develops into a problem when it settles on damp areas that make it easier to grow.
In homes, damp areas typically form in areas where condensation is allowed to settle. When warm humid air from bathrooms and kitchens or drying clothes comes into contact with a cold surface, it releases the moisture that it carries and this soaks into porous surfaces such as wood and plaster. Mould is commonly found in bathrooms and basements, but it can also grow easily in areas of a house with poor airflow such as behind furniture or in colder rooms that are less used.
Although almost everyone will have some reaction to mould, not everyone suffers significant symptoms as a result of coming into contact with the spores.
The most common reactions to inhaling mould spores are nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, wheezing or eye irritation. Some people with sensitive skin or allergies may find that they suffer with skin problems in mouldy environments.
With toxic black mould, the problems of exposure are more severe. The mycotoxins released by Stachybotrys Chartarum can kill neurones in the brain and affect our psychological condition and mental capacity. It is not uncommon for people living in properties with major toxic black mould problems to suffer from dizziness, confusion, and even hallucinations if they ingest larger amounts of the spores.
All moulds should be treated seriously, particularly in homes where residents have underlying lung conditions who can have chronic reactions and become severely ill.
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If you discover mould in your home, it is important to treat it as quickly as possible – there are mould cleaning chemicals available on the market, although heavily diluted bleach is almost as effective.
When cleaning mould, you should always wear eye protection, a mask, and gloves, and throw away any cloths that you use to prevent contamination of other areas of the house. If you have Stachybotrys Chartarum or toxic black mould in your home, it should be cleaned professionally to protect you from the mycotoxins it releases.
Cleaning mould is only a temporary measure. Mould grows in damp conditions and unless you take steps to remove the damp problem that allows the mould to thrive, it will return quickly. As the most common cause of household damp is condensation, it is important to ensure that you have sufficient ventilation in your home to remove moist air before it has a chance to settle.
If you are concerned about the possible effects of household mould on your family, it is important to protect them. Our local ventilation specialists can provide a free home survey where they will measure the amount of damp in your home and provide advice about the best solution – whether this is improvements to the extractor fans in your bathroom and kitchen, or a more advanced whole house ventilation system that draws fresh air in from outside the property to replace stale or moist air that contains mould spores.
One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.
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